The Third Stage

The morning came too early for me. I had counted on sleeping in.  How is it that when the alarm clock isn’t set, I awake anyway, but when it is set for the butt crack of dawn, my body resists and I have to force myself awake.  Contrary, that’s what it is.

Awake so early on a Saturday morning with nowhere to go or be, and no one to need me, I got up and started my coffee, turned on my Ipod to my last consciousness teaching session and laid back in bed to listen to it again.
Ah, yes, I remember now – I’m starting a new life, that’s what I am doing. Kids grown, husband – in my perception – independent.  Now I have time to do all the things I have wanted to do in the past but never felt free to leave my family to engage in.  Suddenly, though, now that those things are actually within reach, they seem scary.  I guess when you don’t feel you can truly engage in something, it is easy to dream about.  Now here it is, within my reach, and I’m afraid.
One fear, I have realized, is that I am going to step out to do the dreamed of activity and find out it was nothing great.  Yes, the old dreaded disappointment factor. (Safely) I’d rather not even try something than to risk the possible disappointment when I do!  It is just crazy, but it truly is the way I, and many other people, operate.  And regardless to my consciousness of that behavior, I do, at times, still slip into that reality.
My mind then flips through the things that I have dreamed of doing.
The local library is one of my favorite places – I was going to say in town, but I have to admit it’s more like – on EARTH!  All those books, the beautiful historic building!  The quiet!  So I go there a couple times a month and check out several books that I may or may not read front to back.  Sometimes I read a chapter and decide the book isn’t for me.  I have even read half a book, then decided it wasn’t worth finishing, or because I lose interest after getting what I need from it.
Upon my visits to the library, I am always intrigued by the row of identical books lined up on the counter that have been set aside for the Group Read.  The participants all agree to read the same book, then they have a weekly or monthly meeting to discuss it.  I have always dreamed that someday – after the kids weren’t involved in a bunch of activities, and I felt a little freer, I would love to participate in that.  So here it is, the time to do it, and suddenly, there are a few stoppers.  For one, I have that problem that I cannot force myself to read a book to its end.  So when I get to that stopping point in the assigned book, would I quit the group?  For two, I don’t want to commit to this group and find out that I can’t stand the people in it.  I hate the concept of being a quitter.  For three, after seeing who was posted as the leader of this group, I make the assumption that there is no way it could go anywhere but where this person wants it to go.  I’ve heard of this person, and it wasn’t good.
The truth is that I just am not sure how to do this next part of my life.  I don’t want to jump into a bunch of activities and end up pulled at both ends by things that don’t really mean a whole lot to me.  There are so many questions in my mind – like do I learn new things or perfect the old ones?  Do I take on activities that require me to physically leave my home or stick with the acitivities that I love (writing and quilting) – things that take me places without ever starting the car?
It is apparent that I am afraid of doing it “wrong.”  Is there such a thing?  I mean, I am a unique individual, and my life is my own, right?  The choices are my own.  So if I don’t like my first choice, I give myself permission to change my mind.
Yes, I can do this.  I can find new life.  This is my re-birth.  Realizing all this gives a whole new meaning to the dream I had the other night where I gave birth to a little girl whom I named, Anna Christina – my own name, just flipped.  I told my daughter about the dream.  She went deep in thought, then very matter-of-factly stated it – “Huh, you birthed yourself.”
I am being born again.  No more the daughter, no more the mother, now the woman with a life of her own.  And as painful as I can imagine my first birth was, as I head down this birth canal, it is a little painful leaving motherhood behind.  Okay, maybe a lot painful.  But I’m excited, too, because I know I am ready for this next phase.  Time to redefine who I am.

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